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a very uncomfortable tafk to have been confined to it for any time; and that when the vanities of the world, at the fame time, have been very pleafing to you; and you have been all fwallowed up in them, while you have been averfe to the things of religion.
If you look into your heart, it is there plain to be feen, that there is an enmity in your will, that your will is contrary to God's will; for you have been oppofing the will of God all your life long. Thefe things are plain in natural merr; it is nothing but fome great delufion that can hide them from you. And thefe things are the foundation of all enmity; if these things be in you, all the ref that we have fpoken of will follow of courfe.
2. One reason why you have not more sensibly felt the exercises of malice againft God is, that your enmity is now exercised partly in your unbelief of God's being; and this prevents its appearing in other ways, that otherwife it would." Man has naturally a principle of Atheism in him; an indifpofition to realize God's being, and a difpofition to doubt of it. Thể being of God does not ordinarily feem real to natural All the difcoveries that there are of God's be÷ ing, in his works, will not overcome the principle of Atheism that is in the heart. And though they feem in fome measure to be rationally convinced, yet it does not appear real ; 'the conviction is faint, there is no ftrong conviction impreffed on the mind, that there is a God: and often times they are ready to think that there is none. Now this will prevent the exercise of this enmity that otherwife would be felt ; particularly,' it may be an occafion of there not being those sensible exercifes of hatred, that otherwife there would be.
It may in fome measure be illustrated by this: If you had a rooted malice against another man, a principle that had been long established there; if you should hear that he was dead, and fo fhould conceive that he had no being, the fenfible workings of your malicé would notbe felt, as when you realized it that he was
alive, or that there was fuch a perfon and that although there be the fame thing in the foundation, which would appear, if you fhould afterwards hear the news contradicted, and perceive that your enemy was ftill alive; you would feel the fame workings of hatred that you did before. And when you thought he was dead, you might feel the exercife of your enmity, in being glad of it. And thus your not realizing it, that God has a being, may prevent those sensible workings of hatred, that otherwife you would have. If wicked men in this world were fenfible of the reality. of God's being, as the wicked are in another, they would feel more of that hatred, that men in another world do. The exercife of corruption in one way, may, and often does prevent it working in other ways. As covetoufnefs may prevent the exercife of pride, fo Atheism may prevent malice; and yet it may be no argument of there being any the lefs of a principle of enmity in the heart; for it is the fame enmity working in another way. The fame enmity that in this world works by Atheism, will in another world, where there will be no room for Atheifm, work by malice and blafphemy. The fame mortal enmity that, if you faw there was a God, might make you to wifh him dead, and to defire, if it were poffible, to kill him, may now dispose and incline to think there is none. Men are very often apt to think things are fo as they would have them to be. The fame principle difpofes you to think God has no life, which, if you knew he had, would difpofe you, if it were poffible, to take it away.
3. If you think that there is a God, yet you do not realize it, that he is fuch a God as he is. You do not realize it, that he is fo holy a God as he is: you do not realize it, that he has fuch an hatred of fin as indeed he has. You do not realize it, that he is fo juft a God as he is, that will by no means clear the guilty. But that in the Pfalms is applicable to you: These things haft thou done, and I kept filence: thou thoughteft that I was altogether fuch a one as thyself, Pfal. 1. 21. So that
if you think there is a God, you do not think there is fuch a God as there is. And your Atheifm appears in this, as well as in thinking there is no God. For that God that you think there is, is not that God that indeed is,but another, one of your own feigning, the fruit of your own vain, deluded imagination. So that your objection arifes from this, that you do not find fuch a fenfible hatred aginft that God which you have formed, to fuit yourfelf; a god that you like better than the true God. But this is no argument that you have not bitter enmity againft the true God; for it was your enmity against the true God, and your not liking him, that has put you upon forming up another in your imagination, that you like better. It is your enmity against thofe attributes of God's holinefs and juftice, and the like, that has put you upon conceiting another, who is not fo holy as he is, and does not hate fin fo much, and will not be fo ftrictly juft in punishing it; and whofe wrath against fin is not fo terrible:
But if you was fenfible of the vanity of your own conceits, and that God was not fuch an one as you have imagined; but that he is, as he is indeed, an infinitely holy, juft, fin hating, and fin revenging God, who wil not tolerate nor endure the worship of idols, you would be much more liable to feel the fenfible exercises of enmity against him, than you are now. And this experience confirms. For we fee that when men come to be under convictions, and to be made fenfible that God is not as they have heretofore imagined; but that he is fuch a jealous, fin hating God, and whofe wrath against fin is fo dreadful, they are much more apt to have fenfible exercifes of enmity against God than before..
4. Your having always been taught that God is in" finitely above you, and out of your reach, has prevent ed your enmity's being exercifed in those ways that otherwife it would have been. You have always from your infancy been taught, that God is fo high, that you cannot hurt him; that notion has grown up
with you. And hence you be not fenfible, that you have any difpofition to hurt him; because it has been conceived fo impoffible, that it has not come into your mind. And hence your enmity has not been exercifed in revengeful thoughts; because revenge has never found any room here; it has never found any handle to take hold of; there has been no conception of any fuch thing, and hence it has.lain ftill. A ferpent will not bite, or fpit poifon at that which it fees at a great distance which if it faw near, would do it immedi ately. Opportunity.fhows what men be often times, whether friends or enemies. Opportunity to do, puts men in mind of doing; wakens up fuch principles as lay dorment before. Opportunity ftirs up defire to do, where there was before a difpofition, that without opportunity would have lain ftill. If a man has had an old grudge against another, and has a fair opportunity to be revenged, this will revive his malice, and waken up a defire of revenge,
If a great and fovereign prince injures a poor man, and though what he does is looked upon very cruel, that will not ordinarily ftir up that paffionate revenge, as if he fuftained no bigger an injury from one of his equals, because he is fo much above him, and out of his reach. Many a man that has appeared calm and meek when he has had no power in his hands, and has not appeared, either to himself or others, to have any difpofition to thefe and those crucl acts; that yet afterwards, when he came to have opportunity by unexpected advancement, or otherwise, has appeared like a ravenous wolf, or devouring lion. So it was with Hazael. "And Hazael "faid, why weepeth my lord? And he answered because "I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of "Ifrael: their ftrong holds wilt thou fet on fire, and "their young men wilt thou flay with the fword, and "wilt dafh their children, and rip up their women with "child. And Hazael faid, but what, is thy fervant a
dog, that he should do this great thing! And Elisha "anfwered, the Lord hath fhowed me that thou fhalt be.
king over Syria," 2 Kings viii. 12, 13. Hazael was then a fervant; he had no power in his hands to do as he pleased; and fo that cruel difpofition that was in him had lain hid, and he did not himself imagine that it was there: but afterwards, when he became king of Syria, and was abfolute, and had none to controul him; then it broke out and appeared, and he did as the prophet had foretold. He committed those very acts of cruelty, that he thought it was not in his heart to do. And it was want of opportunity that was the thing that made the difference. It was all in his heart before he was fuch a dog then as to do this thing, but only had not had opportunity. And therefore when he feems furprifed that the prophet fhould fay fo of him, all the reason the prophet gives is, "The Lord hath fhowed me that thou shalt be king over "Syria."
Ánd fome natural men are fuch dogs as to do things, if they had opportunity, which they do not imagine it is in their hearts to do. You object against your having a mortal hatred against God; that you never felt any defire to kill him. But one reafon has been, that it has always been conceived fo impoffible by you, and you have been fo fenfible how much defires would be in vain, that it has kept down fuch a defire. But if the life of God were within your reach, and you knew it, it would not be fafe one hour. Who knows what thoughts would prefently arife in your heart by fuch an opportunity, and what difpofition would be raised up in your heart! Who would trust your heart, that there would not prefently be fuch thoughts as thefe, though they are enough to make one tremble to mention them?" Now I have opportunity to fet myfelf at liberty-that I need not be kept in continual flavery by the ftrict law of God. Then I may take my liberty to walk in that way I like beft, and need not be continually in fuch flavifh fear of God's difpleasure. And God has not done well by me in many inftances. He has done most unjustly be me in holding me bound to deftruction